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12 August 2018, 03:25 | Charlene Valdez
Kevin de Bruyne did not feature for Manchester City in pre-season friendlies
Premier Leaguefootball returns this weekend and Manchester City begin the defence of their title with a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Sunday afternoon. A team filled with elite talents in the prime of their careers, Manchester City have only achieved the bare minimum under Guardiola and their real test will come in Europe, although anything but a win against Arsenal will be a dampener for the champions. 'Forget how much Liverpool have spent, they were already a good team last season as well. Maybe Tottenham could not spend because of the stadium but there is Chelsea with Jorginho, Kovacic and Kanté in the middle, and Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Morata up front so you cannot say they are not contenders to win. "We were once rivals in our days in France, but we're now friends and I hope we can play well together and score lots of goals".
"The Gunners have not won the league since 2004 and, after finishing fifth and sixth in the last two seasons, Arsene Wenger brought an end to his two-decade spell in charge".
City were almost flawless last time out, winning the league with a record number of points (100), goals (106) and points margin (19).
Initially Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva were the tipped partnership in the centre of midfield, however a prolonged rest for both players means the Portugal global should enter the fray for the Sky Blues' season opener. That's the basic principle, ' he urged.
"The important thing is to be there and to be ourselves".
David Silva could be a question mark for Sunday's fixture as well.
"I have said many times I am not a special guy but I am so good at working, working, working a lot and they have to work too".
Guardiola held some one-to-one meetings with his players after the World Cup to check they were ready to go again. Whether it's on the left with Lacazette through the middle, or both players starting alongside each other as central striking options, there can be no doubt that, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubameyang in the team, Arsenal are spoilt for choice in attack.
'We talked to some of them about how it was, ' revealed Guardiola.
With funds few and far between this summer, it might take an exit to free up some capital for Emery to play with today.
"Now, when I say something to the players, they know exactly what we have to do". You can not say they are not contenders to win. "Of course we will have bad moments but, at a club where you win titles, winning another one helps for the future", he said. A title challenge is very unlikely, but a top-four place isn't out of the equation.
He faces a Guardiola who is now fully into the swing of things at Manchester City and had an unparalleled domestic campaign a year ago where City racked up 100 points.
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Liverpool vs West Ham, Premier League 2018-19
More aggressive in the right moments. "I think we now have the quality and a talented team who can play to win titles". "Win all of them and it's good, but it's really hard to do so". "We are still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago".